Consumer-generated ads not so much consumer generated

Consumer-generated content is all the rage. No presentation is complete without a paean to the wonders of regular Joes’ creativity. Lots of buzz has surrounded the idea of consumers themselves creating advertising for brands. You know, consumers are in control, etc. But have early efforts borne this out as a true consumer phenomenon? The latest over-hyped example is Current TV’s consumer-created ads for Sony Electronics. It’s a very slick ad. Here’s the thing: Tyson Ibele, the lead animator at MAKE, a Minneapolis-based visual design studio, is credited with the Sony spot. That doesn’t seem exactly the same as California high school teacher George Masters creating a viral ode to Apple’s iPod. Firefox Flicks also chose a winning spot created by ad freelancer Pete Macomber. Even the Converse Gallery, the granddaddy of consumer-created ads, is filled with work by film-school types, animators, cinematographers, even Mos Def – basically, those with profiles fitting your typical agency creative profile. There’s nothing wrong with broadening the pool of creative ideas beyond in-house talent, but maybe it’s time advertisers and PR minions stop painting these efforts as boldly allowing their consumers to control their brands, not simply outsourcing creative chores.

—Posted by Brian Morrissey